Thursday, 22 March 2018

"What is line?" FAVOURITE PERFORMANCES OF 2017

Since all this is being published after the Oscars, we know who all were the "best" performers of this year were *cough* Gary Oldman shouldn't have won *cough*. Well, my list is a bit different. I actually started making these lists because of how much I loved my #1 performance and HAD to write about it somewhere. So without much further rambling introductions, here are my top 20 performances of 2017:



20.
 Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049

As wonderful as the Gos is at comedy, there's a reason he became known for his strong and silent characters. His K is a replicant who longs to be human, but he cannot show it apart from the most smallest and heartbreaking of gestures. Gosling does so much with so little.


19.
 Lesley Manville in Phantom Thread

The most delicious performance in this list. Again, it's a performance of control and how terrifying it can be when we see it slip ever so little. Also her line readings ARE AMAZEBALLS! Scary, but amazeballs.


18.
Catherine Keener in Get Out

I feel like Keener is Manville's character if she knew hypnosis, and was obviously a rabid racist. Has someone stirring tea ever been more frightening?


17.
Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

It's one of the most iconic shots of this year, when tears are falling from Kaluuya's face as he sits paralyzed in horror. There's a reason for that. He lets you feel the dread, the utter helplessness. You cannot escape it. Other than that scene too, you can kind of see what he's thinking but still not really, which is an interesting tightrope that he walks on throughout the film, and I am so glad he's been rightfully rewarded for it.


16.
Rajkumar Rao in Trapped/Newton/Bareilly Ki Barfi

He's one of the best Indian actors of his generation and 2017 was a great year for him to showcase his immense potential. Each role couldn't be more different than the other. In Trapped, he is a man battling for survival, both physically and mentally. In Bareilly, he plays the scared pushover and the over-the-top extrovert equally well. In Newton, he is someone who has to witness the complete break of a system and figure out how to be someone who can still be moral in an amoral world. Rao does all of these roles justice and then some.


15.
 Jennifer Lawrence in mother!

For most of the film, I kept waiting for "mother" to turn into the JLaw we all know now- headstrong, vulgar, bold, loud. But she is none of that. Lawrence's personality is so big that we sometimes forget that she's a pretty fantastic actress and mother! is testament to that. The film is focused on her face because she is the eyes of the audience to the madness that is her life. We have to be connected to her emotionally for the movie's outlandishness to make any sense. Lawrence shows exactly such vulnerability. I don't understand the backlash against her at all. Sure, the film is divisive as fuck but Lawrence has given a complete against-type, open and intimate performance that should be lauded by all.


14.
 Meryl Streep in The Post

Let me just say off the bat, this is a very very good performance. But I think one of the reasons why it is so high up is because of the character too and how Streep embodies it. I connected to the character completely, and the arc she goes through and the way Streep portrays it, it really moved me. This is one of my most personal picks, if that makes sense.


13.
Harry Dickinson in Beach Rats

The first of my "WHERE DID THEY FIND HIM/HER?!!" picks. He is so good in this film playing a teenager exploring his sexuality in a world where something like that still isn't easy. Even though his character doesn't speak much, there's an openness about Dickinson's face that I so love in actors. His eyes speak volumes and it's very compelling to watch.


12.
Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird

Ronan is already kind of a legend at 23. Each of her THREE Oscar nominations couldn't have gone to more disparate characters. As Lady Bird, she is all confidence and confusion mixed in a perfectly imperfect concoction. I think all teenage me would have wanted is to be her but (relatively sorta) grown up me sees and appreciates the complexity in the character and how deftly Ronan brings that out.


11.
 Barry Keoghan in The Killing of A Sacred Deer

He's so creepy and unnerving in this. I mean, who can forget that spaghetti scene? Lanthimos has a way with weirdo characters and Keoghan plays one of the most unforgettable ones. Just thinking about him gives me the heebie-jeebies and if that's not an impactful performance, I don't know what is.


10.
 Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water

When I think about Hawkins in this movie, the first thing I think about the scene when she tells Richard Jenkins's character about how the creature completes her and how much that made me cry. Hawkins is such a luminous presence. I'm always excited to see her in a film and she was such a perfect choice for this character because of how well she expresses joy and sorrow and everything in between even without words.


9.
 Hugh Jackman in Logan

Jackman has played Logan/Wolverine for 17 years. You would think one would have seen all that is to offer with this one character but he saved the best for last. There is of course tragedy in the story of Wolverine but there's also the idea of him being invincible to match that. In Logan however, we don't have that safety net anymore and what we are presented with is a broken, dying man, who has lived through so much and probably watched everyone he's ever cared about die. We don't see this in the film but we see it in Jackman's performance. He is so heartbreaking yet ferocious in this. It's a crying shame that the performance didn't get the awards love it deserved but at least we can be happy knowing people will be talking about this more than some damn British guy made of makeup.


8.
Allison Williams in Get Out

Her true brilliance shines upon a rewatch. She is so eerily fantastic in this, dropping enough hints along the way but still managing to shock us with her true intentions. It's perfect casting that is elevated by an even more perfect performance.


7.
Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

This movie was so surprising but not Robbie's performance. Ever since the first trailer dropped, I knew this would be one of THE performances of the year. I have an affinity towards arguably terrible characters who are really passionate about something. It kind of made me think of Selina Meyer from Veep. Of course Robbie's Harding wasn't remotely as awful but the scenes that show her love of skating, they were really powerful and have stuck with me ever since.


6.
 James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Franco is just tremendous as Wiseau, the actor and the person. When he commits to a role, there are very few like him. His Wiseau is equal parts funny and poignant and kinda unforgettable.

 5.
Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

He beat Franco purely based on that last scene. That scene broke me. My other favourite thing about this performance is how I know with every rewatch I'm going to like it more and more. Having read the book, I was on a lookout for certain things Chalamet's Elio does and while in the book his emotions are bursting out of him since we are completely privy to his thoughts, the movie version is more silent and secretive but still grappling with the same feelings and urges. I don't think I was able to see all of it and it still pretty much blew me away. Can't wait to fall in love with him falling in love all over again.


4.
 Chris Pine in Wonder Woman

I kinda need the clap emoji to make my point come across fully but Imma try anyway- CHRIS PINE'S LAST SCENE IN THE PLANE WAS SOME GOD LEVEL ACTING AND WE ARE ALL BLESSED TO HAVE WITNESSED IT! He was so funny and effortless in the movie and the look he gives at the end has been seared into my brain and more importantly my heart ever since. I'll write more about Wonder Woman in other posts but that film works because it makes you feel and Pine's Steve is the actual heart of the film.


3.
Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread

She's the second of my "WHERE DID THEY FIND HIM/HER" choices. And I mean, where do you find an actress who not only meets Daniel Day-Lewis in a scene head on but out-acts him? What? Is she magic? Krieps is a force of fucking nature in this film. She starts out all shy and redfaced but from the moment she tells Day-Lewis's character that he would lose if he played the blinking game with her, you could sense she's not some wide-eyed ingenue. She drives the movie like her character who breaks the routine of the Woodcocks' lives with her determination and individuality. Again, I had a really good feeling about her because the last time Paul Thomas Anderson introduced an actress in his films, it was Katherine Waterston and lemme just say, he's on a helluva roll in this particular road.


2.
Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

Well, she sort of played all our moms, didn't she? It's a brilliant performance that is so specific that you find elements in it that you can relate to in your own experiences with your mother. I wrote above about how teenage me would've idolized Lady Bird if it had come out then but I am so glad it came out now because I can see the hurt and pain and love and sacrifice in her Marion which I wouldn't have understood at a younger age. I think the time in a teenager/young adult's life when they realize that their parents are normal people too, who also make mistakes and are trying to make the best of everything, is underrepresented in films and Lady Bird shows that so well and we wouldn't have the full impact of it without Metcalf's multifaceted and true-to-life portrayal.


1.
 Florence Pugh in Lady Macbeth

As I wrote in the intro, the only reason to make any of these lists was so that I can find a way of praising this performance. It is amazing. It actually reminds me of Amazing Amy but like more evil and human at the same time. Pugh's Katherine is all desire. She has to be cunning and cruel to get her desires fulfilled and we're just along for the ride. There's a reason the film is named upon one of the most infamous women in literature, who begged the powers to take away her kindness and fill her with poison... there's a reason she's often called the fourth witch. Funnily enough, watching it, I was reminded of a quote from the film The Witch which was "Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?" Pugh's Katherine does and she's willing to sacrifice everyone in her path for it. Everything that Pugh does in this film is so deliberate and natural at the same time. Her boredom, her lust, her anger, her jealousy, her cruelty- it is all a joy to behold. I can imagine people being disgusted by her but I was just fascinated by this little giant of a woman, who btw obviously also tops my "WHERE DID THEY FIND HIM/HER" picks. It is a brave and gutsy performance, one that takes hold of your brain and doesn't let go, which I suppose is appropriate given the character. She's not one to be forgotten. She simply wouldn't allow it.


So what were some of your favourite performances from 2017? Lemme know in the comments below. Also Next up we have EVERYTHING else I loved about 2017 movies!

5 comments:

  1. YAAAAS to Vicky Krieps at number 3! She is so good in Phantom Thread, way better than DDL. It angers me so much that she was completely snubbed.

    I didn't like mother! at all but Jennifer Lawrence was great in it. Easily the best thing about the film for me and she did NOT deserve that Razzie nomination.

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  2. I haven't seen some of the performances in this list but I agree with those that are. Chalamet really did a great job, the way his performance grows after every rewatch is evident too.. I have seen it twice now and I have had different reactions both times. I'm curious to see what happens the third time around.

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  3. Great picks. Manville’s work was soooo delicious. I just loved it. Did you see their deleted scene from the movie? It is heaven. And LOVE that Krieps ranks so high as well.

    Love that Lawrence got some love for mother! I agree with you wholeheartedly - it’s vulnerable, intimate, wildly against-type work.

    Shit, I need to see Lady Macbeth like now.

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  4. I love the wonder woman Scene

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